The structure of the nervous system
Before the work of Camillio Golgi the understood how individual nerve cells were composed or connected. Single nerve cells could not be examined individually, as their structure was too complex for normal tissue staining techniques. Golgi searched for years for a technique to resolve the structure of nerve tissue. He developed the 'black reaction', later known as the Golgi method, based around hardening dissected tissue with potassium dichromate and impregnating individual cells with silver nitrate. The Golgi method is still in use today. It allows the cell body and the processes of individual nerve cells to be seen clearly against the surrounding tissue. Using this technique Golgi was able to publish the first illustrations of the fine anatomy of the nervous system.
The Golgi staining technique opened up a new field. It allowed the structure of the nervous system to be resolved, and questions about its nature to finally be answered. Santiago Ramón y Cajal offered an enormous contribution to solving the puzzle of the structure and function of the nervous system. Through many years of work he showed the relationships and connections between different cell types throughout the nervous systems of many animals.